Turkish defence industry grows past 51%
Turkey has successfully scored a silent revolution in its defense industry. Share of Turkish companies in Turkey’s annual defense spending has surpassed 51% for the first time since the early years of the post-Ottoman Turkish republic. In 2010, around 1,000 Turkish firms of all sizes have shouldered various defense projects worth around $3 billion.
Turkey’s Undersecreteriat for Defense Industries, or SSM, took a strategic decision in 2007 to open up to the country’s hundreds of well-established, but smaller firms that specialize in technical fields that compliment national defense. Within the frame of this decision, SSM started to include the many companies situated in the numerous organized industrial zones (OIZs) all around Turkey and forced larger defense companies (like Aselsan, TAI, Otokar and Roketsan) to choose smaller domestic partners where and when they needed to oursource parts, materials and even additional labor force.
This allowed Turkey’s defense industries to skyrocket in both technological abilities and the number of contracts signed. A few years ago, Turkish companies’ share in national defense constituted only 25% of Turkey’s overall defense spending. SSM’s new strategy was able to raise this ratio to 45% in 2009 and to 51% in 2010. This steep increase seems to have greatly benefited Turkey’s small to medium sized companies, who in many cases doubled or tripled their revenues and gained invaluable capabilities in defense technology and know-how. Only in OSTIM, a larger high-technology OIZ located near Ankara, about 250 firms are currently operating as subcontructors to Turkey’s bigger defense corporations.
A new, self-reliant Turkey
“Turkey will soon become a 100% self-reliant country in land and naval defense” said Mr. Murad Bayar, head of SSM, in an interview. ”This change in defense industry is of utmost importance. We’re very impressed by the increase in our smaller defense companies and their talents.” he added.
SSM’s new target for Turkish companies is 75% contribution to Turkey’s national defense by 2015.
Major ongoing projects that involve many smaller companies include:
National infantry rifle;
Altay main battle tank;
Ada class corvettes and TF-100 class light frigates under the Milgem (National Ship) program;
Unmanned reconnaissance and combat aerial vehicles;
C-130 aircraft modernization;
Gokturk-series reconnaissance satellites;
National torpedo development program;
Full-sclae simulators for training purposes;
Various other land, sea and air platforms.
Turkey to cooperate with European missile manufacturer
European weapon systems manufacturer MBDA has signed a preliminary agreement with Aselsan, Roketsan and Ayesas for development of a joint air defence system, MBDA officer for missile technologies Antonio Perfetti told reporters this week at the openning ceremony of a Finmeccanica office in Turkey. ”It is not a coincidence that we’re working with these specific companies. Our Turkish partners have the utmost knowledge, experience and success in their respective fields.” he added.
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